Music therapy may be more than “music to the ears” for stroke survivors. It can:
- Improve your balance and gait as well as speech, memory, attention and focus.
- Help organize motor movement if you can’t control your muscles.
- Encourage you to move spontaneously in ways you wouldn’t if you thought about it. Stroke may damage executive function, which is the ability to plan and perform tasks. So when you use the affected side, for instance by playing a keyboard, you acknowledge the limb exists and increase the chance you’ll will move that side at will.
- Increase your focus that’s lost from brain injury to help you perform a series of steps.
Sing a song. Even if you can’t talk, you still may be able to sing. Singing and speech use a parallel mechanism, so skills used to sing words may carry over to regular speech. Songs that are popular, have predictable lyrics or from childhood may be easier to sing.
Pump up the volume. In music therapy, you can use a wide range of instruments. Digital ones are especially effective because you can adjust the output. For instance, turning up the volume on digital drums allows you to hear the effect.
Whether playing, singing, listening or writing, music therapy may help stroke survivors.